Presented in partnership with the NCC Urbanism Lab
In a series of presentations followed by a panel discussion, speakers Emma Greer, Fadi Masoud, and Stephen Fai will describe and provide a critical framework for understanding new technologies and techniques of analyzing and visualizing urban and regional environments.
Carlo Ratti Associati, Torino
Emma Greer is a Canadian architect with international experience as a project manager, strategic design consultant, public speaker and lecturer. With an academic background in architectural history, urban studies and housing, and an expertise acquired in the field across Europe and North America, Emma is a multidisciplinary professional whose work bridges technology, design, and urban issues. As Chief of Staff at Carlo Ratti Associati, Emma oversees the CRA Cabinet – the executive branch of the office responsible for external relations and advancing the public image of the office. As a project manager, Emma provides general creative input on all ongoing work and leads design projects focused on urban design, retail and climate remediation.
Cities are, by definition, plural, public, and productive. They are created by society itself (barring exceptional cases like master-planned Brasilia or Chandigarh) and they function as culture’s petri dish for progress. Living in space and creating space can go hand in hand. We propose to employ design in a systematic exploration and germination of possible futures, exploring how ubiquitous computing – i.e. the increasing deployment of sensors and hand-held electronics in recent years, what we call Senseable City – is opening up a new approach to the study of the built environment. Design can investigate and intervene at the interface between people, technologies and the city – developing research and applications that empower citizens to make choices that result in a more livable urban condition.
The aim is not to portray what is to come. We call it futurecraft: we pose future scenarios (typically phrased as What if? questions), entertain their consequences and exigencies, and we share the resulting ideas widely, to enable public conversation and debate. It’s important to extrapolate from the present condition and to place ourselves, as designers, in a fictive but possible future context with the intent of realizing or precluding that future through public discourse. Designer’s work is meaningless unless it ignites imaginations and provokes debate: design by mutation is intrinsically collective. Designers produce mutations, some of which will grow, evolve, and develop into tangible artifacts that cause global change – driven to realization by the energy of the crowd.
John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto
Fadi Masoud is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Toronto. Masoud holds professional degrees in planning and landscape architecture from the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto, and Harvard University, where he graduated with distinction. His current research and design work focuses on establishing relationships between dynamic large-scale environmental systems, design, and the instrumentality of planning frameworks, policies and codes. Parts of his research traces landscape architecture’s contributions to 19th and 20th century comprehensive planning models and tools (such as land use zoning), and suggests the need for landscape architecture to reinsert itself in that milieu in order to deal with the environmental pressures facing 21st century urbanization. To that end, he is working on developing an interactive regulatory planning tool that provides policy-makers with a dynamic framework database of “flux-based landscape coding strategies” and “land use regimes” for a more resilient and adaptable urban fabric.
Masoud worked previously worked on and designed several projects that deal with the future of suburbia, urbanism in arid climates, along borderlines, and on coastal reclaimed lands. The work has been recognized through several international competitions and has been heavily exhibited and published in numerous books and journals. He held previous faculty appointments at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, at the University of Toronto, and most recently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, where he taught design studios and seminars on urbanism, landscape, and visual representation.
Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS), Carleton University, Ottawa
Stephen Fai is the director of the Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS) and an associate professor at Carleton University. At CIMS, he questions and develops digital workflows for the architecture, engineering, construction, and operations industry (AECO). His research integrates digitization, building information modelling, simulation, digitally assisted storytelling and, digitally assisted fabrication. Prof. Fai holds a cross appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art, and Culture, and the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism. He is also a faculty member in the Human Computer Interaction and Digital Humanities programs at Carleton.